How did I go so many years without seeing Sensitive New Age Killer? Director Mark Savage’s high-camp hitman flick is a blast of B-movie goodness. It’s hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this movie. Like a great video store find or a late-night TV chance encounter, Sensitive New Age Killer delivers exactly what it wants to: fun.
I don’t often talk about how much fun a movie is, not even when describing a summer release. But let’s take a look at the facts. SNAK, as the acronym goes, follows a man named Paul (Paul Moder), who decided to be a killer with a heart after watching a hitman named the Snake (Frank Bren) kill someone who just happens to be beating a prostitute. One day, hitman Paul, a devoted, working class family man, gets caught in the act by a police officer (Carolyn Bock) who would rather ride Paul into a mattress for the rest of his life than arrest him.
A weekly date with the officer goes on for a year or so, until Paul begins to flub hit after hit. What he doesn’t know is that it’s his pal and partner George (Kevin Hopkins) who is actually sabotaging his work. Why would George do that? Well George, who spends part of the movie dressed as the Maytag man and making pornography, wants Paul’s wife (Helen Hopkins), who bares a striking resemblance to George’s mother. Oh and there’s a big one million dollar hit that brings Paul face to face with the Snake.
I have only two other movies that I delight in for their taboo-crushing, anti-social eccentricities. One is Peter Jackson’s Muppets Show parody Meet the Feebles, which features puppets with AIDS, peeping toms, and a musical tribute to anal sex. The other is Sleep Away Camp 2, a classic horror movie that would make the mother in Serial Mom proud. I can now add Sensitive New Age Killer to that short list.
Much of the film’s success lies in its twisted and hilarious screenplay. Savage and co-writer David Richardson have a knack for smart dialogue without the pontification I’ve come to expect from movies like this one. In the only semi-decent DVD extra, Richardson and Savage describe their process as writing partners. Richardson’s refreshingly candid take is especially enjoyable as it shares time with actors seriously discussing their history in Shakespeare productions.
I don’t discount any of what the actors are saying, but watching SNAK isn’t a serious activity. It’s glorious fun. Though, it does take a strong performer to pull off a double-crossing best friend with an Oedipus complex. And it takes a stronger performer to not laugh as he shoots the 100th round out of his six- or eight-round revolver. Thank you Mr. Savage for this subversive, Waters-esque take on a genre that is mostly owned by hip directors with a need to show their characters reload. I had a ball.
Sensitive New Age Killer is now available on DVD.